Sunday, 4 May 2014

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Monday, 20 August 2012

Disrespectful grammar?

A comment on Language Log's latest blogpost mentions a rather egregious error carved in stone on a war memorial on the Isle of Wight

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The plural of vinyl vinyls. Some idiots have got it into their head that the plural of vinyl is vinyl. You might like to think that this is all tongue-in-cheek, but in fact there are plenty of places on the Web where you can find examples of people peevishly telling off other people for saying "vinyls". Do these people also say "I bought five cheese" or "I bought five beer"? I doubt it very much. And if they do, that's idiotic too.

Monday, 11 June 2012

stupid as*f*ck

To say something is "as /adjective/ as fuck" is low English but hardly out of the ordinary in these uncouth times. By contrast, the word "assfuck" is offensive and rather too Tarantinoesque for most people's tastes. The way that some people blithely mix these two expressions up - well it caused my jaw to drop the first time I saw it. It is difficult to believe that someone could write "Irritated assfuck" or "Sneaking out of the house is fun assfuck" until you actually see it. And there are even people on Twitter with handles like Pretty Assfuck and ImDopeAssfuck. Technically, this is just part of two common phenomena: one is the tendency to join words that should be apart (alot, awhile, everyday) and split words that should be together (paper back, fire man, any thing); the other is the belief that a word must be right because it's in the dictionary (and assfuck *is* in the dictionary) whether it's the right word for the context or not. Microsoft Word has been guilty of exascerbating this problem as people have become reliant on spellcheckers, though I'm not sure that assfuck is in the MS Word dictionary :-)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Literally nuts

Welcome to the "People do it so that's okay then" school of English, Mr Thomas Chivers. His argument goes: some good writers have misused "literally" "so we're wrong to criticise Jamie Redknapp" for doing it.

David Morrison makes a good point in the comments:
Writer and comedian Paul Parry was scathing about the Deputy Prime Minister's slip. He told Today: "This is probably the worst thing Nick Clegg has ever done. He's just completely misusing the word."

He added: "It's not about pedantry, it's about communication. The key thing is the word 'literally' is a safe word.

"We've got a wonderful, floral language. You can say that you've got itchy feet, that you'd kill for a cup of coffee, that you'd bring the house down, that you've got a frog in your throat, but ultimately you need to be
able to show that words have a literal meaning as well.

"There is no other word that means 'literally' and if the word 'literally''s meaning is eroded by all this misuse then there is nothing to replace it and we'll get a lot more confusion."

Friday, 27 January 2012

An oldie at Vue?

Can you move one thing and add three words to correct the sentence?

(Screengrab from